A friend posed a dilemma about writing and here is what I said to her (which she said was fine to post here, for others to hopefully benefit from):
There does come a point when you (a writer, any writer) finds themselves at the point you find yourself at. Is it worth it? Is the self-disclosure worth raking through the muck of the past and putting it on paper, making art out of it? Is art worth it? Is it productive? Isn't cleaning a closet more productive?
What I didn't say last night, which I ought to have said, and if it's okay with you, I'll post this on my blog so I can say it! is, if there's something else you enjoy more than writing, then maybe you *should* give it up.
In my view, you're a writer. Sure you like other things, too, but you like writing and gain something from doing it. But that may just be my view.
I have considered over the years, at different points, giving it up. But when I ask myself, does anything do more for you, the answer has always been no. I love to knit, I love handicrafts. I studied music for a few years and played the flute. I was involved in the performing arts, and photography. But I always felt--and still do--that something was missing without working on a piece of writing.
Writing is the hardest thing I've ever done. Sure, brain surgery would be harder, but then again, I don't want to be a brain surgeon. And my guess is that for some brain surgeons, writing would be damn hard.
No one can tell you that you should be writing. No amount of strokes or encouragement can make you write every day if you simply don't want to.
But my guess is that if you write a bit every day, you'll want to. You'll work a groove in the brain and in your creative self that will draw you back to your pen and paper, or computer, most days. So much of writing is very much a habit. Like any habit, if you fall away from it, you might think, whatever made me think I liked that habit?
Anyway, only you know what writing does for you, and doesn't do for you. I do know that I've seen your excitement when you were working on a piece that excited you.
I know your friend discouraged you by telling you one of your pieces wasn't in your voice. Voice can take a long time to get to. It takes throwing a lot of words at the page. It truly does. You try out different styles, different tones, different ways of using words, and in this way, voice comes.
Writers need to stop thinking so much--about how we're no good, how we're frauds, how we'll never write anything of substance--and just write. Writing is the cure.